The Internet is increasingly becoming the greatest repository of wisdom and information the world has ever known, in addition to being an unbeatable delivery system for pornography and videos of cats flushing toilets. This is particularly true of YouTube, where, to awkwardly paraphrase William Faulkner, the past didn’t go anywhere; in fact it was just uploaded by BieberBelieber23 three hours ago. With that in mind, we introduce Treasures of YouTube, a regular feature that brings you some overlooked gems of this glorious online institution.
Today marks the birthday of David Bowie, arguably the greatest human being and artist in the history of the universe and a man whose glittery fingerprints are all over pop culture. As a quintessential visual artist, Bowie is all over YouTube, so choosing a clip was a bit of a challenge. I was tempted to include the hilariously ebullient clip for “Dancing In The Streets,” which features Bowie and pal Mick Jagger prancing about a desolate post-industrial hellhole, but instead chose a more sedate and less manic collaboration: Bowie’s famously awkward visit with Bing Crosby to croon “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth.”
In the clip, Crosby asks Bowie if he ever listens to any of the “older fellas” like himself. These days Bowie himself is one of the older fellas and it’s amusing to imagine what this clip might be like with Bowie as the gracious elder statesman and, say, Justin Bieber or Drake as the young upstart. Oh, and that 6-year-old son Bowie mentions in the clip? That would be Duncan Jones, future director of Moon and Source Code.